The Halvorson Brothers performed at the 2019 Sunrise Festival in Sidney. This year's festival will have something for everyone.

It’s almost time for the return of the annual Sunrise Festival in Sidney. The festival is slated for Saturday, June 12, 2021 starting at 8 a.m.

As everyone is aware, the 2020 festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so organizers are excited to bring the event back to Sidney in 2021.

Of course, the excitement isn’t just about the return of the festival. This is also the 30th anniversary of the Sunrise Festival and there are some exciting changes that should make this year even more special.

One of the changes is the date itself. Sidney Area Chamber of Commerce & Agriculture Director Kali Godfrey said this change was on purpose. “There is a predicted high of 70 degrees in June, which is ideal weather for everyone involved,” she said. “There are fewer competing events around the region, and so, we are pretty excited about that.”

Another change has to do with vendors. In the past the festival has been exclusively for arts and craft vendors. That will not be the case this year. The festival has been opened up to allow vendors of all types in an effort to draw a more diverse crowd.

Yet another change is the location. The festival will be downtown along Main Street, starting with the first block.

Godfrey said the hope is that the changes will increase the number of visitors to the festival. “We are banking off of drawing more people,” Godfrey said.

There will be plenty of entertainment throughout the day, said Godfrey. “Lilliana Johnson will kick the festival off with the National Anthem at 8 a.m., Kayla Fox will follow with a 30 minute yoga flow. The Riggs Family Band perform at 9:45 a.m., Cutting Edge Dance Studio performs at 10:45 a.m. and Sidney Taekwondo will conduct a demonstration at 11:30 a.m. The featured band for Thistle and Lace will perform a one hour show at noon,” said Godfrey. At 1 p.m., people can enjoy the Shriner’s Parade which will make its way down Central Avemue. During the afternoon, Godfrey said there will be performances from the Bennion Family (1:30 p.m.), Laura and the Soo Valley Boys (2 p.m.), Felix Becker (3 p.m.) and the MonDak Music Association (3:30 p.m.)

The biggest change, however, is the addition of a street dance in the evening. The street dance will be an adult-only event for those 21-years-old and older. Like the daytime events, the dance will take place on Main Street and run from 7 p.m. until midnight.

Music will be provided by a band from Minnesota called Thistle and Lace and is being sponsored by the TBID board. The Minnesota-based husband and wife acoustic duo play a variety of styles. According to their Facebook page, you will hear everything from classic rock to today’s hits, bluegrass to gospel, Whitney to Prince.

“They are upbeat,” Godfrey said. “A mix of country and pop.”

Godfrey said the committee felt it would be best to limit the street dance to adults only for at least the first year. “{span}The street dance is 21+ as a safety precaution as we will have beer available for purchase. We wanted to keep the various elements of the street dance limited in the first year to make sure we have the capacity to manage everything.”

Speaking of beer sales, the chamber is still searching for volunteers to help sell beer tickets and distribute beer. Volunteers must be Safe Serve trained. The chamber will pay to get any volunteers trained.

Godfrey said the changes are needed. “It’s a favorite local event but some of the interest died down a little bit and we were seeing fewer and fewer vendors,” Godfrey said. “People were definitely still showing up but not to the extent we’d have liked.”

Yes, there are a lot of changes, but the focus will still be on the arts, said Godfrey. To that end, there will still be a featured artist for the event.

This year, that will be Cole Fink and all the beautifully rustic items he makes.

“We just wanted to open it up to others as well. And businesses will also be doing things on the sidewalk,” said Godfrey.

{span}The Sunrise Festival of the Arts is coordinated by a great committee of ladies, said Godfrey. The committee is composed of Enid Huotari, Karen Schoepp, Leann Pelvit, Larysa Hurst, Jamie Malsam, Billie Hillesland, Heidy MacGrady, Marissa Eberling and Molly Brodhead. These committee members really make things happen and have worked really hard over the last six months to make the festival a success.

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